Sponsored Blog Posts – My Thoughts
So it has come to the point that I have actually noticed that some of the blogs I read have sponsored posts. It took AVG Anti-Virus to sponsor both Mashable.com and Silicon Alley Insider at the same time for me to notice. It is definitely a direction for blogs to take for additional advertisement revenue and will be more common as standard display or graphics ads lose their effect. However the success for a site depends on how it is done. There are a few ways it have been done, some work while others don’t. All function by being inserted as a normal post/article would be.
4 Types of Sponsored Posts
1 – Straight ad-copy from the advertiser which is clearly marked as a sponsored post.
2 – In the same editorial style as the site but with clear points that have been specified by the advertiser.
3 – An offer or prize giveaway from an advertiser, marked clearly as sponsored.
4 – Paid editorial, an article about reviewing or evaluating an advertiser and their products.
Examples of Websites with Sponsored posts
Mashable – AVG Anti-Virus, Microsoft, HP, American Express
SAI – AVG Anti-Virus, American Express, HP, Ad-Juster, Mercedes Benz, The Regus Group, British Airways, Book Sponsorship Socialnomics,
Lifehacker – LogmeIn, AVG Anti-Virus. Adobe, Fellowes, Audible, Comcast, Toyota
Slash films – Focus Films
The common theme with sponsored posts is that the website is clear in indicating that they supposedly only approve sponsored posts that are “valuable and interesting to the reader“. This is just an empty excuse as it is often the case that there are better alternative products from competitors. Blogs shouldn’t fall back on this excuse. Some blogs are more clear than others saying they really only reject if the product is a scam.
Another topic raised often is journalistic integrity. I find it hard to understand why there are readers who reject the use sponsored posts based on this reason. These sites do very little actual journalism, they are often summarising articles, providing guides, tips, providing news and rumours. If clearly marked there should be no problem with sponsored posts. However I do see that there could be a problem with the 4th example of sponsored posts. One case of this is with SlashFilm.com who tried this by having a sponsored editorial analysis article by on of their bloggers/writers. It didn’t go over well with their readers and they have subsequently stopped having sponsored posts. The problem was implementation and the key is transparency, the reader does not want to be tricked or deceived and needs to clearly know that what he/she is reading is sponsored.
Tech sites seem to be doing well with sponsored posts but I rarely see them in entertainment, gaming or general news sites. My opinion is that I am all for sponsored posts as I am not bothered with seeing and reading an ad every so often. If this is what they need to do to have the resources to grow the site than I am all for it.